The IT job market then and now – how has the sector changed over the recent years?

13 06

The IT job market then and now – how has the sector changed over the recent years?

logo-kwadrat-2 Author: Barbara Wiosek

Barbara Wiosek – is a Recruitment Manager at ITDS where she’s been working for the last 4 years. Basia together with her unit focus on finding top IT talents for Clients located mainly in Wrocław and Kraków. Basia feels most comfortable in sourcing for difficult and niche profiles. Currently managing a team of 5 professionals to whom she is providing guidance, coaching, and with whom she shares her best sourcing practices.

Rapid technological development is driving constant change in the IT sector. Nowadays, new market trends emerge on a regular basis and previously used solutions quickly become obsolete. Where does this leave IT professionals? In the following article, I will discuss how things have changed over the years!

The IT market – how has it changed in the recent years?

The first thing to note is that acquiring the knowledge and skills required for programmers and IT specialists used to be considerably more difficult than it is today. Apart from completing relevant studies or courses, it is possible to start professional training at an even earlier age, as more and more technical and high schools are launching dedicated IT programs. 

There is a wealth of useful content available on the Internet, as well, in the form of videos, blog posts, podcasts and specialised courses. Programming itself has also become easier to some extent, with special tools that help streamline or even automate code writing or app development.

Although in theory it is nowadays simpler to obtain the necessary education and experience, this does not mean that the process itself has become any easier. It is the best IT professionals who are driving the industry forward. As digitisation is progressing in virtually every sector of the market, the demand for programmers continues to grow.

The huge number of job offers and favourable employment conditions encourage many people to retrain. As a result, more and more programmers in today’s IT sector are acquiring the necessary competences later in their career.

In the past, jobs for IT specialists were mainly available in large companies or corporations. Nowadays, their services are also sought by smaller companies and start-ups. On top of this, B2B (Business to Business) contract work is becoming popular, with programmers setting up their own businesses to work with clients on more favourable terms.

These days, there are also far more women in the IT sector. Special campaigns and programmes are being developed to encourage young women to acquire knowledge and experience in this field, offering them support in a world hitherto dominated by men.

Another key difference is how the IT sector is creating new specialisations and even professions. Nowadays, more and more positions are being opened in the areas of machine learning, AI, Big Data, cybersecurity, IoT (Internet of Things) or virtual reality. Only a few years ago, all these fields were purely theoretical.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably changed the IT industry. Due to restrictions, most sectors had to switch to remote working, which accelerated the digitisation of many businesses. New or upgraded solutions were needed to enable fast, yet convenient and secure communication and data exchange. The result was a huge demand for IT services, which contributed to an increase in employment levels.

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What is the situation like for IT professionals? – past and present

IT professionals are mostly viewed through the lens of high salaries and constant, steady demand. Many young people plan a career in the IT sector, as it seems to offer a stable future and an exciting profession with a real impact on the world.

Programmers have hardly ever had to complain about a tough market situation, but what we are dealing with today is a classic example of the employee market. While the sector used to offer high salaries to new employees, experience is what matters most today. The gross salary of entry-level junior programmers will often average around 7,000 PLN, while seniors who have been working in the IT sector for at least several years will be paid more than 16,000 PLN gross. The best IT specialists with more experience and a wider range of skills may even be offered  25,000 PLN net.

Due to the situation on the IT market, recruitment processes have also evolved. Employers are looking for experienced specialists who can work with a team using Agile methodology. They also tend to value:

  • expertise in several programming languages and a good understanding of a specific IT area;
  • keeping up to date with the latest technologies;
  • a drive for development and further training;
  • soft skills, such as communication, creativity and the ability to transfer knowledge.

Over time, the expectations of IT professionals have also changed. High salaries are, obviously, at the very top of the list, but as circumstances offer a good negotiating position, candidates increasingly demand:

  • remote work;
  • life-work balance;
  • employee benefits (such as private medical care, gym memberships);
  • development opportunities and promotion prospects.

Interestingly, most IT recruitment processes are managed both by HR specialists and programmers themselves. This provides them with the opportunity to effectively evaluate candidates’ technical skills with the help of live coding tools. 

What is the current state of the Polish IT market?

The Polish IT market is not at its best. According to a report by SoDA, i.e. Software Development Association Poland, we are short of up to 250–300 thousand programmers in Poland. If this trend continues, we will be at risk of an economic slowdown.

What has led to this situation? First and foremost, small numbers of graduates in specialised faculties. Also, many IT professionals are not competent enough, offering only basic technical skills.

The skills of Polish programmers and IT specialists are valued worldwide. However, in times of economic crisis and inflation, Polish companies are often unable to meet requests for salary increases. As a result, employees are being sought by corporations headquartered in Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland or the United States. Consequently, a large percentage of the best IT specialists decide to work remotely for foreign entities and enter the international market, leaving Polish businesses confronted with a shortage of IT talent. 

Outsourcing IT engineers provides a good solution to this situation, as it allows companies to quickly find qualified programmers for a specific project, without having to hire them on a permanent basis.